Announcement
November 11, 2021

Christian Kosmas Mayer and Anton Ginzburg
A & I

TU Dresden

Left: Christian Kosmas Mayer, Golden Tongue, 2021. 24 carat gold, polyamide, plaster, metal. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nagel Draxler, Cologne/Berlin. Right: Anton Ginzburg, Sculptural studies of film forms, 2021. Installation on painted wall, 3D prints, Polyamid 12.

October 2020 marked the launch of the Schaufler Lab @ TU Dresden, comprised of two components—the Schaufler [email protected] Dresden, a graduate school and the Schaufler Residency @ TU Dresden, an artist-in-residence program. The lab is a joint project of Technische Universität Dresden and The Schaufler Foundation. As a lively forum for the forward-looking dialogue between science, art, and civil society, it brings together young scientists with internationally established artists. Together, they transcend the boundaries of their disciplines and investigate current technologies, their origins and impact on modern life.

The Schaufler [email protected] Dresden has been set up as a nine-year program, with the first project phase (running until 2024) dedicated to the question of how artificial intelligence is changing culture and society, while being itself a product of and an evolving reaction to the same.

The joint exhibition A & I presents the projects of the program’s first two artists-in-residence: Christian Kosmas Mayer and Anton Ginzburg. Both Christian Kosmas Mayer and Anton Ginzburg have worked with and on artificial intelligence, each approaching it from very different angles. In their respective artistic pursuits they cooperated with scientists with very different specialisms within TU Dresden´s research community. The ensuing projects are process-based and focus on collaborative practice between art and science. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Christian Kosmas Mayer, artist-in-residence 2020
The artist Christian Kosmas Mayer (b. 1976 in Sigmaringen, Germany, lives and works in Vienna, Austria) spent September 2020 to February 2021 as the first artist-in-residence on the newly established program Schaufler [email protected] Dresden.

While at TU Dresden, Mayer explored the timeless human desire for immortality in the context of the present day and the radical advances currently sweeping across the fields of biotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI). Mayer’s work references the latest technological progress made in biology, cryonics, and AI, and, after his own in-depth study, explores both their historical dimensions and ethical and philosophical implications.

In this project work, the artist traces how the ancient wish of attaining eternal life is finding new manifestations that have only been made possible in the current age. In doing so, Mayer always places the new life-preserving and life-altering technologies in a wider cultural-historical and poetical frame of reference. By harnessing modern technology to resurrect ancient bodies and their associated myths, he creates fictive scenarios that place antique cultural history side by side with innovations that point far into the future, thereby subverting our conventional understanding of time and progress. The presence of departed lives inherent in Mayer’s work manifests itself in both material and digital form. In the Dresden exhibition, the human voice plays a central role as a primordial medium of expression – indeed it was already considered an indispensable tool in achieving immortality in ancient Egypt. We live in an age when AI enables us to synthesize the voices of those long-dead and thus revive them in digital form. As a result, technology now allows their voices to float free of their bodies, living on in an afterlife of their own. Mayer is especially drawn to such phenomena and objects, which, even in death, know no rest and drift through time as narratives or markers between realms. This is evident in his multimedia works developed at TU Dresden, which include a multi-channel sound piece, a sculpture series, and AI-generated animations of historical photographs from the 19th century.

Mayer’s art has featured in numerous major international exhibitions. In 2021 he was awarded the Outstanding Artist Award by the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Culture for his singular artistic work.

Anton Ginzburg, artist-in-residence 2021
Anton Ginzburg (b. 1974 in St. Petersburg, Russia, lives and works in New York City, USA) was the second artist-in-residence at the Schaufler [email protected] Dresden and spent January to August 2021 devising new artwork inspired by his research into the university’s study collections.

His projects at TU Dresden explore creativity, technology, and cultural labor. Drawing on Modernist practices and the legacy of 20th-century abstraction, Ginzburg’s artwork reflects on contemporary strategies in the mechanization of intellectual labor, such as machine learning, and its influence on contemporary artistic practice.

Anton Ginzburg pursued three different project ideas on AI and digital technology at the university. In one project, he was interested in the application of computer-assisted visualization in video art. His subsequent video work brings together such disparate strands as in-vehicle navigation testing, public art, urban planning, and car crash scenarios.

Another idea Ginzburg explored was the use of algorithms in the data mining and sentiment analysis of the film scripts of iconic movies. In this work, the artist transformed data models into actual 3D objects, thus continuing the tradition of Modernist formal experimentation as rooted in concrete data and perceived sensations. The springboard for this project were data patterns and visualizations that the artist studied in TU Dresden‘s Collection of Mathematical Models and the Color Research & Theory Collection.

Ginzburg spent much of his residency investigating construction-related art in the GDR, especially the “Beton-Formstein System” of molded concrete blocks, which the Dresden artists Karl-Heinz Adler (1927–2018) and Friedrich Kracht (1925–2007) developed in the late 1960s for state-commissioned designs in urban spaces. Based on these abstractions and their visual translation into virtual space, Ginzburg also created an algorithm-inspired series of gouaches (the Dresden Series; 2021) and site-specific murals. These murals synthesize color field abstraction in art and technological systematization in the public space. Ginzburg’s preoccupation with AI primarily serves as the motor of his artistic practice, whereby he presents AI as an overarching social narrative oscillating between technological utopianism and its disruption.

Ginzburg is known for his paintings, films, sculptures, and public art projects. He has shown his works in major museum exhibitions and biennials as well as at numerous international film festivals.

Publications
A publication on each of the two artists will be published by Sandstein Verlag. The catalogs will be available by the end of January 2022 both in the Office for Academic Heritage of TU Dresden and in bookstores.

Preview 2024
For the year 2024 a presentation of all four residencies of the first funding phase (2020–24) is planned in the museum of The Schaufler Foundation, SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen. Christian Kosmas Mayer, Anton Ginzburg, Esmeralda Conde Ruiz (residency 2022) as well as Rosa Barba (residency 2023) will show the results of their artistic research on AI, which they conducted in the context of their fellowships at the Schaufler [email protected] Dresden.

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